One bad inning was all it took to turn a close game into a blowout Monday, as the Tacoma Rainiers wrapped up their penultimate homestand of the season with a 10-1 loss to Iowa that got out of hand in a hurry.
It’s the 24th game this season in which Tacoma has allowed 10 runs or more.
“We’ve had a few of those,” Rainiers manager Darren Brown said after the game. “It’s happened too often.”
Sean Nolin entered the sixth inning rolling and got a quick out, but from there things went south. A single brought up Mark Zagunis, who broke up the deadlock with a two-run home run.
A double and a walk ended Nolin’s outing. He wound up being charged for five runs on eight hits and a pair of walks. Aaron Northcraft came in with runners on the corners and two outs and jumped out ahead 0-2 against Johnny Field, but a liner cued right down the first base line and off of Jordan Pacheco’s glove scored another run and kept the inning alive.
“If we happen to catch that ball, it’s a double play,” Brown said. “Probably out of the inning, it might be a different game. They just got rolling; we couldn’t stop it.”
Another single and a sacrifice fly made it 6-1 before the Rainiers got out of the inning.
Meanwhile, the Tacoma offense got runners on but sputtered with men on base. The Rainiers put together nine hits, five of which came with three outs, but could only manage one run in the bottom of the first on a Jaycob Brugman RBI double.
Tacoma ended up leaving 10 men on base, including seven between the fourth and sixth innings. The Rainiers went 0-for-12 with runners in scoring position.
“It’s something that we’ve addressed before,” Brown said. “Sometimes you get a little antsy once runners get on base with a chance to do something and maybe go outside the strike zone a little bit to try to get the job done.”
Brian Ellington struck out one in a scoreless seventh inning with a fastball that got up to 98 mph. He stayed in to begin the fifth, allowing a solo home run and getting two outs before being pulled.
The I-Cubs pushed across three more runs in the top of the ninth against Matt Carasiti.
John Andreoli ledTacoma by going 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles. Brugman and Tim Lopes added multi-hit days.
The Rainiers are off on Tuesday, and then open their farthest-reaching road trip of the year Wednesday. Three games in Oklahoma City will be followed by four in New Orleans, before Tacoma flies home to open its final homestand of the year Aug. 15 against Fresno.